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Candidates, preferences, policies – Meet the Candidates Forum tonight – live, online, free to watch

Mar 16, 2023


This evening you can tune into the Hawkesbury Meet the Candidates Forum and decide who should get your vote in the State election on Saturday March 25.


But first, just a word on Preferences because there’s plenty of confusion on this.


You decide who your vote goes to and where your preferences flow. The political parties do not decide this, they have no ability or power to do so. Yes, most parties suggest how you should vote on How To Vote cards because they want a particular outcome, but that is simply a suggestion – their preference, if you like.


On the ballot paper for the lower house – the Legislative Assembly – you are only required to put a ‘1’ in one box, but you can also number all or some of the other boxes in whichever order you choose. It is your choice and your preference.


For the big Legislative Council ballot paper (for the upper house), you can either vote Above The Line – number a minimum of one box, or number all or some of the boxes. That gives your vote to the group you’ve chosen, not an individual candidate. If you want to vote for an individual candidate, you must vote Below The Line – in this case you must number a minimum of 15 boxes.


The candidates

In the Hawkesbury electorate, candidates from a range of parties, plus independents, will try to unseat Liberal MP Robyn Preston, who was been endorsed by her party and stands again.


No other Liberal Party member put their hand up for pre-selection, giving Ms Preston a clear run to be picked as the Liberal candidate.


Candidates you can vote for and who are turning up this evening are:


Robyn Preston – Liberal

Amanda Kotlash – Labor

Danielle Wheeler – Greens

Angela Maguire – Independent

Tony Pettitt – Independent

Susane Popovski – One Nation

Shane Djuric – Shooters, Fishers & Farmers


Mr Djuric is standing for the upper house and is number 2 on his party’s ticket. Upper house members do not represent their area specifically, but rather the whole of NSW. Just bear in mind, a candidate from the Snowy Mountains or the Far West of NSW might not be too invested in the Hawkesbury when it comes to our local issues, so it will be interesting to see what Mr Djuric says.


The battleground

The Hawkesbury is one of the safest state Liberal seats in the country, held by Ms Preston since 2019 and in fact by centre-right MPs continuously since 1950.


Current NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was the previous Hawkesbury MP before Ms Preston – she used to work for Mr Perrottet in his political office.


In the 2019 election, Ms Preston received 67.5% of the two-party preferred vote, which equated to 26,935 votes against the next closest contender, ex-Hawkesbury councillor Labor’s Pete Reynolds who polled 12,982 on a two-party preferred basis.


The Liberal also faced candidates in 2019 from the Greens, Animal Justice, Sustainable Australia, Keep Sydney Open, the Shooters, Fishers, Farmers party, and an independent.

Up against Ms Preston this time is a mix of party-affiliated contenders and independents.


There are no less than four Hawkesbury councillors standing for this seat – Labor’s Amanda Kotlash, Greens’ Danielle Wheeler, Shane Djuric, and Eddie Dogramachi of the Small Business Party.


During the local council elections in October 2021, councillors Kotlash and Dogramachi only just managed to squeak in.


Tony Pettitt is a regular at Hawkesbury and Federal elections. Some say it wouldn’t be an election without Mr Pettitt putting his hat in the ring.


Greens candidate Danielle Wheeler is another regular – she’s stood before for the State and Federal seat – and was preselected and endorsed by a vote open to all local Greens members.


Standing for the first time is well-known local entrepreneur and businesswoman Angela Maguire who is standing as an independent. She’s about as near to a Teal candidate as you’re likely to see in this Hawkesbury election, so it will be interesting to see how she fares given Teal successes in the Federal election.


And there is also Susane Popovski who is standing for One Nation and who will be at the event this evening.


This evening is your chance to hear what the candidates ideas and policies are and what they want to take to the election, and, all importantly, for you to decide who to vote for.


You can tune in on Facebook from 7pm and watch the discussion here or you can enter the url which is:


The event will begin to appear as it goes live and is free to watch.


Organised by community group Hawkesbury Meet the Candidates Forum, initial questions will be from five local community groups representing thousands of Hawkesbury residents. If there is time there will also be questions from the floor.


The evening will be compered by Hawkesbury Post editor, Tony Bosworth. It starts at 7pm and runs until 9pm.

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